What products are made by the petrochemical and refining industries?
The products of Modern Life.
Gasoline used for automobiles and aviation, is the largest volume petroleum product, accounting for nearly half of U.S. petroleum product production.1
Diesel fuel (road, locomotive, ships, farm tractors, bulldozers, forklifts, underground mining equipment, backhoes, cranes); Home heating oil (space heating, electricity generation, crop drying, fuel for irrigation pumps on farms); Jet fuel; Kerosene (space heating, cooking stoves, water heaters, lamp oil); Residual fuel oil (boilers, ships); Liquefied refinery gases (ethane/ethylene, propane/propylene, normal butane/butylene, isobutane/isobutylene); and Still gas (refinery fuel).
Highly versatile petrochemicals can be found everywhere. They are the building blocks for plastics, packaging, clothing, devices, medical equipment, detergents, tires, fertilizers, and many other products of modern life. They are also integral to renewable energy systems including solar panels and wind turbine blades.
When a barrel of crude oil is processed, the volume of finished products is actually greater than the volume of the original crude. This is due to an effect called processing gain. The difference is due to the processing of crude oil into products which, in total, have a lower specific gravity than the crude oil processed.2This increase in volume is similar to what happens to popcorn when it is popped.